New Year, New You – A New Way Forward
Greetings to our OHI community; I wish you a brisk and bright January as we enjoy the crisp fresh air of a brand new year. I love the contrast that winter gives us because it enables us to more fully appreciate the warmer months when they return. It’s a great metaphor for how the contrast of the last two years has prepared us to move forward in new ways.
2021 will be remembered as the year we learned to work within the new abnormal of Covid-19. We found new ways to communicate virtually instead of in person; we discovered how to mix the two by creating hybrid environments both at work and with our extracurricular activities; and we learned how to live safely and healthily.
The last 22 months made me recall, when I was growing up, my parents would occasionally recollect the privations Americans suffered during the Great Depression and World War II. They spoke of people living in tarpaper shacks in city parks, waiting in long lines at soup kitchens, and desperately searching for jobs when few were to be had; then during the war how everyone was issued ration cards and stamps which they had to use for buying food, clothing, gas, and pretty much everything else.
They said there were always shortages due to the war effort. And, how the military needed so much food that people in the cities had to start gardening in order to have fresh vegetables. Those little “Victory” gardens, as they were called, ended up providing 40% of the country’s produce. Finally the war was over, and after 15 years of nonstop hardship, Americans were more than ready to move forward.
It was hard for me to imagine how very difficult things were for my parents’ generation because by the time I was coming of age America had become the land of plenty. But the last two years have given me a taste, and I, like many of you, am ready to move forward. It is how we should move forward that I’d like to address in this newsletter.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
I offer you these verses because it’s time to stop yearning for what we had in 2019 and start forging a new way forward.
The Quarantines Disrupted Our Lives – Now It’s Time to Regroup & Move Forward
The inactivity we experienced during the Covid-19 lockdowns created new levels of fear, self-doubt, and confusion. Thankfully, in the past two years, we have learned to live with Covid-19, its variants, and now it’s time to move forward. But how does one move forward? I liken it to re-learning an activity or sport. First, it’s hard to muster the energy to get started, then when you do – you need to practice until you’ve regained coordination of your body and mind – and if you’re like most people, at first you will underperform and feel frustrated. This detracts from your enjoyment and leads you to doubt your ability. At that point, if you don’t push ahead and continue honing your skill, you could lose your self-confidence to the point of giving up.
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Proverbs 4:25
As we begin forging our new way forward, it can be challenging at first. Author, Simon Sinek, offers this advice, “If we think of everything we have to do, we feel overwhelmed. If we do the one thing we need to do, we make progress.” So, where do we start this process?
Rediscover What is Most Important to You
The New Year is a great time for re-evaluating our purpose, vision, values, and goals. It’s a time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go; what we know and what we still need to learn; and what our dreams are and how to implement them.
Purpose. I have written about purpose in this newsletter many times; it is one of our 5 Ps of Optimum Health. Your purpose is all about what makes you happy combined with using your natural talents, then getting so involved and absorbed with it that you completely lose track of time. If you don’t know what your purpose is, you can find it by following your joy. When you feel joy, it is such a powerful emotion that it speaks the truth from your very soul. Think of the things that brought you joy in the past. Make a list of those times, then look for a pattern, and before long you’ll know your purpose. To learn more about finding your purpose, see the article on page 5.
Vision. Once you’ve revealed your purpose, you can work on your vision. Your vision is the roadmap that aligns your purpose with your goals. It is the big picture of where you hope to be in the future. There are many techniques to identify a vision for your life – a couple of examples include: creating a vision board and journaling. For more details about how to set a vision for 2022, see the article on page 3.
Values. Identifying your values will help guide you when it comes to carrying out your purpose and vision. Our values illustrate what we cherish, inform our belief system, and guide our behavior. We all have two types of values: intrinsic and extrinsic. The first is internal (inside of you) and the second is external (outside of you). Intrinsic values are our core ethical beliefs such as honesty, kindness, compassion, respect, and personal responsibility. Extrinsic values create the motivation for our purposeful actions such as the rewards or the acknowledgment we receive for achieving our goals. Now is a good time to contemplate the values that are most important to you because they will help you work on your purpose, vision, and goals.
Achieve Your Goals in 2022
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
In this new year, it’s important to keep forging ahead, build confidence, and not backslide into habits that undermine our goals.
Renewing your mind and creating new habits will help you forge ahead and achieve your goals. At OHI, we teach if you engage in a behavior and do it every day for 21 days, it will become a habit. Creating new habits can sometimes seem daunting and we can feel overwhelmed before we even begin. But now there is a new way of adding a habit that is nearly instantaneous. It’s called habit stacking.
The brilliance of habit stacking is that you attach a new habit to an existing one. You simply perform the new behavior right before or right after a habit that’s already second nature. Next add extra activities, again and again, as fast as you’re comfortable, until you create a stack. You then treat the stack as one activity instead of a bunch of separate tasks. For example, after breakfast each morning add the following activities: conscious breathing, stretch, alpha practice, and gratitude journaling – then eventually perform them as a single routine. You can get started with this by thinking through your day and pinpointing your various habits. Then select the ones you want to turn into prompts for your stacks.
Here are some additional tips for achieving your goals: give yourself deadlines for each little task; find people with similar or the same goals as you and then work together or become accountability partners; reconnect or rebuild your support system (such as your OHI cohort); remember that your path may alter (as it has over the past two years), but your vision and goals remain constant; practice gratitude; last but not least come to OHI and let us help you forge a new way forward into 2022.
Steer Clear of Limiting Beliefs
I am excited for this new year and for you to start forging a new way forward! We’ve discussed how identifying your purpose, vision, values, and goals are key ingredients for the recipe to do so; but also remember how limiting beliefs can undermine you in achieving your optimum self. Limiting beliefs that formed in childhood can continue to hold us back as adults.
If you wish to eliminate a limiting belief, you must first identify it. You do this by noticing when you become anxious or depressed, then try to recognize what stimulated the emotion. Look for any habits or patterns in your behavior that provoke those feelings.
Next, replace the limiting belief with an empowering belief. Establish your new belief with positive affirmations that you repeat throughout the day. Your replacement belief, however, must be believable to you or it won’t stick. Start gradually and build up to the empowering belief you desire. For example, you can’t go from “I’m not afraid” to “I have the courage to do anything.” Instead repeat to yourself, “I’m excited about having new experiences.” Then every time you do something you’ve never done before record it in your journal.
If you need more support in forging a new way forward, consider a visit to OHI. Many of our classes – including our Focus class, Vision Boards, Mental Detox – teach you how to identify your purpose, vision, values, and goals and will set you up for success in this new year.
Still the Safest Place You Can be Away from Home
We are continuing to make upgrades to both of our facilities. At both locations, our OHI for Life Wellness Rooms are outfitted with a Molekule air purifier and 100% organic cotton linens and towels (including fitted sheets). We also brought Covid-19 testing in-house. At OHI San Diego: every guest room has wood flooring, high-speed internet, black-out shades, and 80% of our guest room bathrooms have been renovated; and 80% of our food is from local organic farms. At OHI Austin, we added new wood flooring and carpet to our exercise classroom. We hope you come to experience our OHI for Life Wellness Rooms – designed with your safety and comfort in mind.
Wishing you health and wellness in this blessed New Year.
Yours in prayer,
Robert P. Nees, Jr.
Senior Pastor and Chairman
Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin